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Harbourfront Centre Summer 2004 - Music Overview

Labatt Blue Canada Day: Then and Now
- July 1
Labatt Blue Canada Day: Then and Now celebrates Canada Day with an exciting evening lineup which features the 25th Anniversary concert from Toronto Pop Rock icons the Rheostatics. With songs about hockey, Saskatchewan and Canadian painters - the Rheostatics are sure to inspire audiences musically and lyrically. The group is joined by an opening performance from Toronto based Roots Reggae performer Leroy Brown, who recently won the 2004 Juno for Best Reggae Recording. An Alt-Country theme weaves through the day and night with debut Harbourfront Centre performances by Toronto group The Backstabbers and by Kitchener-Waterloo's Shannon Lyon. DJ Country Stranger joins Lyon for a late-night performance.  

Harboufront Centre Debuts: 

July 1 - 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage - The Backstabbers (Toronto)
July 1 - 8 p.m. - CIBC Stage - Leroy Brown (Toronto)
July 1 - 9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage - Rheostatics 25th Anniversary concert (Toronto)
July 1 - 11 p.m. - Brigantine Room - Shannon Lyon (Toronto) and DJ Country Stranger (Toronto)

Stella Artois World’s Fare: A Global Feast - July 2 to July 4
Stella Artois World’s Fare: A Global Feast embraces the widespread infusions occurring in contemporary World music with an amplified sampling of innovative artists in their first Toronto appearances. New York based saxophonist David Murray continually reinvents Free Jazz and New Orleans Jazz in the context of different musical styles. Over more than 220 albums, a Grammy Award and international critical acclaim - Murray presents a live performance of his latest project David Murray & The Gwo-Ka Masters. Explosive horn playing crests over high-energy percussion from Guadeloupe's Gwo-Ka Masters as the entire group invests this Caribbean Island's Creole musical culture with a new intensity and identity.

The festival also focuses on the emerging sounds of Eastern Europe. Two groups make first Toronto appearances. Poland's the Warsaw Village Band take booming drums, bowed bass, a tish of cymbal, sheets of scratchy fiddles, and female vocals to recreate the songs and dance music of their country's villages. This six member group injects Polish Folk music with a new spirit sometimes either hip-hopsasa or as the group would say hard'cora of obora (hard-core straight from the byre). The journey continues when Budapest's futuristic10 member wedding band Besh o droM performs a full-out electroacoustic set that shakes their ethnic Folk roots with driving beats and wild gypsy Jazz improvisation. New York's Nurse Kaya String Quartet also make their Toronto debut. These six adventurous musicians combine influences from the Classical, Jazz, Rock, Folk and Avant-Garde worlds to create original music that takes radical notation through free and structured improvisation.

Groups making first Harbourfront Centre appearances include Pakistan's Rizwan Muazzam Qawwali. This group has been enthralling global audiences in the continuation of a family tradition of performing centuries-old Sufi devotional song. Led by the nephews of the most celebrated Qawwali singer of them all, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Muazzam and Rizwan Ali Khan enlighten through music with inspirational tabla, harmonium, vocals and rhythmic hand clapping.

Four Canadian groups make first Harbourfront Centre appearances. Vancouver's Tandava is a World music ensemble inspired by the Folk and Classical music of India and Bangladesh, with influences from China, the Middle-East, Africa and the West. Virtuosic tabla and world drums combine with polyphonic marimba to create the rhythmic engine for lyrical erhu, multilingual vocals, bamboo flutes and soaring guitar. Also from Vancouver, Celso Machado is a master of ritmos brasileros, a virtuoso guitarist, percussionist and multi-instrumentalist. His mixture of irresistible rhythms and inspired lunacy transport audiences through the vitality of Brazilian music. Two Toronto Ukrainian groups debut; Zeellia - who play Slavic folksongs and dances from Ukraine, the Balkans and the Canadian prairies - and Vasyl Popodiuk - who with his band creates a genre-defying musical style blending traditional Slavic and gypsy themes with classical pop and jazz (presented with Russian Info Trade).

Toronto Debuts:
July 2 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Besh o droM (Budapest, Hungary)
July 2 (11 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) - Nurse Kaya String Quartet (New York City)
July 3 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - David Murray & The Gwo-Ka Masters (New York City/Guadeloupe)
July 4 (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Warsaw Village Band (Warsaw, Poland)
Harbourfront Centre Debuts:
July 3 (2 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Tandava (Vancouver)
July 3 (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room) - Celso Machado (Vancouver)
July 3 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali (Pakistan)
July 4 (1 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage) - Zeellia (Toronto)
July 4 (6 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)- Vasyl Popodiuk (Toronto)

Beats, Breaks and Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival - July 9 to July 11
Harbourfront Centre's Beats, Breaks and Culture festival will be Toronto's largest sampling of the worldwide evolution of Electronic and DJ music into the realm of live performance. All groups perform LIVE in a huge variety of configurations in styles from House to Hip-Hop to Breaks, Techno, Broken Beats and Ambient as well as many flavours of Pop.

Three international groups debut in Toronto. Jaga Jazzist has emerged as an international force (after signing with Ninja Tune records) since winning over their Norway homeland a decade ago. This ten member group has drawn comparisons to Tortoise, Radiohead, French film and Miles Davis. New York City's Tortured Soul ensemble uplifts live House with Soul, Jazz, Samba and Afrobeats. Founded by Christian Ulrich (founder of the NYC band Cooly's Hot Box), Tortured Soul members have also teamed up with Topaz, touring worldwide by opening for James Brown and Maceo Parker among others. One of their classic House tracks was remixed by Osunlade. One of Pop music's most influential producers (India Arie, Patti LaBelle and even Gerardo "Rico Sauve"), Osunlade has recently emerged as one of House music's most prominent producers and DJs. This New-York/Puerto Rico-based multi-instrumentalist performs live for the first time in Toronto with his full band.

A dynamic selection of Canadian performers make first Harbourfront Centre appearances. Internationally regarded as one of Canada's most innovative DJs/producers  - Manitoba (aka Dan Snaith) moves from lap top to full band with a performance that includes two drum kits, keyboards, guitars and glockenspiel. Another Canadian DJ/producer making waves internationally, Moonstarr (Kevin Moon) constructs a commissioned live performance called Broke 'n' Down. This musical showcase melts the lines between Hip-Hop and Techno. Featuring live electronic performances by Moonstarr and Archetype (21/22 Corp, NYC) consisting of live beat constructions with samplers, computers, synthesizers and drum machines - Broke 'n' Down also presents vocals and rhymes by Voice (Featherperm Records, LA), beatbox by Toronto's Jugular, live cuts by Professor Fingers (Toronto), rhymes by MC Vandal (Urban Camper Ent, Toronto) along with Toronto DJ Dialect.

Belgium live band Buscemi electrify the dancefloor with a mix of French style House, Latin percussion and Funky breaks while Baltimore group Fertile Ground raise soulful deep House to new levels with accomplished Jazz musicianship. North Carolina Hip-Hop group Little Brother combine conscious rhymes with exceptional live performance in the tradition of the Roots while Toronto duo Rustic Hut provide sizzling vocals along Nu Jazz sounds and Broken Beats. Toronto duo Repair layer Techno and minimal House with lush sultry vocals. Internationally acclaimed Toronto DJ/Producer Adam Marshall will also perform.

Two acclaimed Toronto electronic music events settle into Harbourfront Centre. One of Toronto's original House DJs and Techno scene innovator Greg Gow (Phyrl events and Restructured recordings) presents his respected Mono night with Arthur Oskan and Caspian Rabone. DJ Will Munroe brings his Peroxide event to Harbourfront Centre which features a live performance by Montreal lo-fi, electronoise-punk petrochemical rockers Les Georges Leningrad.

Toronto debuts:
Festival debut in overview (work in cultural components as mentions)
July 9 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Jaga Jazzist (Norway)
July 9 (3 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Tortured Soul (NYC)
July 11 (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Osunlade band (NYC/Puerto Rico)
Harbourfront Centre debuts:
July 9 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Manitoba (Toronto)
July 9 (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room) - Moonstarr and Friends
Broke 'n' Down
July 9 (11 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) - Peroxide featuring Will Munro and Les Georges Leningrad (Montreal)
July 10 (5 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage) - Adam Marshall (Toronto)
July 10 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Buscemi (Belgium)
July 10 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Fertile Ground (Baltimore)
July 10 (11 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) - Mono featuring Greg Gow, Arthur Oskan and Caspian Rabone (Toronto)
July 10 (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room) - Little Brother (North Carolina)
July 11 (5:30 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage) - Repair (Toronto)

Ritmo y Color: A Latin American Arts Festival - July 16 to July 18
The theme of Past/Forward defines the festival with contemporary and traditional international and Canadian performers making Toronto and Harbourfront Centre debuts. Many concerts are presented in association with Toronto's Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) - who will also host late-night concerts and panel discussions at Harbourfront Centre (details to be announced). Since forming in 1994, Puerto Rico's Plena Libre have single handedly revitalized the traditional Puerto Rican rhythm of Plena with contemporary dance-floor styles. The group's Grammy and Latin nominations have led to worldwide touring and acclaim. This will be their first Toronto appearance. Cuba's Azúcar Negra also make their Toronto debut with a sizzling set of Salsa-infused Timba featuring Haila Maria Mompié, one of Cuba's most popular female vocalists (formerly of Bamboleo). Montreal's 10 piece ensemble Mandinga also comes to Toronto for the first time to showcase their unique fusion of Latin Jazz and World music styles with Afro-Peruvian rhythms and percussion. Originally from Cuba, current Montrealer Yousy Barbara makes her Toronto debut with Cubason - consisting of some of Montreal's hottest Latin musicians. Only 24 years old, Barbara has already performed at profile festivals in Cuba, Spain and at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Los Angeles based Tex-Mex Roots Rock icons Los Lobos perform a rare free concert while celebrating 30 years together. Acknowledged as one of Rock music's most distinctive and original bands the group merges multiple musical styles with traditional Spanish and Mexican music. From La Bamba to The Neighbourhood to side projects like the Latin Playboys - Los Lobo's has returned full force this year with the star-studded new release The Ride. Venezuelan Disco Love-Funk Latin-House ensemble Los Amigos Invisible make their Harbourfront Centre debut hot on the heels of their new release Venezuelan Zinga Son, produced by House music legends Masters at Work. Los Amigos are busy remixers themselves as seen by work for the Beastie Boys, Basement Jazz and Dimitri from Paris. Two Toronto groups make Harbourfront Centre debuts. Traditional sounds from the 20 strong Afro-Brazilian percussion group Maracatu Nunca Antes slide alongside the New Cuban Generation project  - which showcases musicians, dancers and artists. The group performs original compositions as well as arrangements by Hilario Durán and Dizzy Gillespie mixing Afro-Cuban with Jazz, R&B with Latin and Jazz with Classical.

Toronto debuts:
July 16 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Yousy Barbara (Cuba/Montreal)
July 17 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) -  Plena Libre (Puerto Rico)
July 18 (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Azúcar Negra (Cuba)
July 18 (3 p.m. - CIBC Stage)-  Mandinga (Montreal)
Harbourfront Centre debuts:
July 17 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Los Lobos (Los Angeles)
July 16 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Los Amigos Invisibles (Venezuela)
July 17 (3:30 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage) - Maracatu Nunca Antes (Toronto)
July 18 (1:30 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace) - New Cuban Generation (Toronto)

Omiala: A Festival of New Black culture - July 23 to July 25
Chicago Soul Folk Jazz legend Terry Callier has seen his career revitalized over the last ten years through his collaborations with Beth Orton, 4hero's Marc Mac and Koop. Beginning in early 1970's Chicago, his signature lyrical delivery and timeless melodies continue to endear him to fans of all ages worldwide, regardless of musical style. Callier and his band will be joined by opening act and the reigning queen of Haitian song Emeline Michel at his first Toronto appearance. The Lee Boys are one of Florida's finest African-American Sacred Steel artists. The Sacred Steel electric lap-steel guitar sound has developed in the House of God church for decades but has only recently emerged into mainstream music with the success of groups like Robert Randolph & the Family Band. The Lee Boys bring their high-energy Gospel based R&B, Blues, Jazz and Hip-Hop to Toronto for the first time with guest Sacred Steel guitarist Calvin Cooke from Detroit.
Toronto based Motown artist Melanie Durrant performs her novel blend of Soul, R&B and Jazz at Harbourfront Centre for the first time.

Toronto debuts:

July 24 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Terry Callier with Emeline Michel (8 p.m.)
July 25 (3:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Lee Boys (Florida) with Calvin Cooke (Detroit)
Harbourfront Centre debut:
July 24 (3:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Melanie Durrant (Toronto)

Stella Artois Hot & Spicy Food Festival: The Island Soul Edition
- July 30 to August 2

The popular Stella Artois Hot & Spicy Food Festival moves to a new weekend with a new hot and spicy lineup. Two of Brazil's acclaimed new vocalists make Toronto debuts. Cibelle drawn international attention since appearing on Suba's classic downtempo gem Sao Paulo Confessions. Her current self-titled solo debut showcases her songwriting and vocal talents pulsating through Bossa Nova, Samba, Jazz and downtempo electronica. Beats by Brazilian producer Apollo 9 and mixing by the talent's that sculpted Morcheeba's sound completes the subtle tones of a dynamic new talent. Daúde is also a new Brazilian vocalist enjoying international success for blending Brazilian rhythms with electronic beats. Since 1997 she has toured through Europe and the United State while releasing four albums.

Detroit-based vocalist and keyboardist Joseph Amp Fiddler has played on records by Prince, George Clinton and the Brand New Heavies. Recently his collaborations with enigmatic Detroit producer Moodymann have led to renewed interest and given the critical hype for his recent funked up Neo-Soul, R&B House release Waltz of a Ghetto Fly - that interest will only grow. He makes his Toronto debut as a solo artist with his own band. Madagascar's Jaojoby are the country's leading exponents of Salegy - which is a mixt of electrified African Pop rhythms with Malgasy folk songs. Their full band makes its Toronto debut. Montreal big band Jab Jab make their debut appropriately during Caribana because they are all about the Soca jump up!

Los Angeles Hip-Hop Funk orchestra Breakestra make their Harbourfront Centre debut. Led by breaks fanatic Miles Tackett, Breakestra's renowned live performances have endeared them to Toronto audiences since first appearing in 2002. Montreal group Afrodizz make their Harbourfront Centre debut as the city's newest Afrobeat sensation by building the groove with phatt horns, soulful vocals and elegant Jazz guitar.

Toronto debuts:
July 30 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Cibelle (Brazil)
August 1 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage) -  Daúde (Brazil)
August 1 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) -  Joajoby (Madagascar)
August 1 (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Jab Jab (Montreal)
August 2 (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Amp Fiddler (Detroit)
Harbourfront Centre debuts:
July 30 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Breakestra (Los Angeles)
August 2 (3 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Afrodizz (Montreal)

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! - August 4 to August 8
Masala! Mendhi! Masti
presents two Toronto debuts with more to be announced. The Rishi Rich Project launches the festival's Brit InvASIAN series with a full band performance by one of UK's most prominent producers. Rishi Rich has worked on tracks with Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, Mary J Blige and many others. Dya Singh is an Australia Sufi/Ghazal performer making his Toronto debut with a four member ensemble. The festival will also delve into alternative rock for the first time with a Wednesday night performance by Toronto groups Controller, Controller, Anjali and Kazak ($5 admission).

Planet IndigenUs: An International Indigenous Arts Festival - August 13 to August 22
Planet IndigenUs presents a stunning array of International and Canadian artists. Mexican vocalist Lila Downs, best known for her performance and music in the film Frida, makes her Toronto debut.  Downs originally blends pre-Colombian and Mexican folk instruments with Jazz, Gospel, World and Hip-Hop to create a very individual strain of song (she also sings in the Mexican languages of Mixtec, Zapotic, Maya and Nahuatl) embracing Indigenous Mexican roots and North American sounds. Internationally acclaimed New Zealand group Wai also make their Toronto debut. Traditional Maori poi percussion beats, body slaps and Polynesian chants join Funk, House, Reggae Hip-Hop and ambitious knob-twiddling in order to convey the duo's lyrics outlining the myths, history and struggles of the Maori peoples. New York based vocalist Martha Redbone was mentored by original Ohio Players member Walter 'Junie' Morrison and she definitely has the Funk and the Soul and the voice to move audiences worldwide. As unique as Macy Gray yet classic like Minnie Riperton, Redbone's debut CD Home of the Brave slides seamlessly from classic Funk to Soul to Hip-Hop and Rock.
Vancouver based vocalist/guitarist/song-writer Kinnie Starr has won fans over across the country with her fearless approach to Pop music. From the "hip-hop aggro-groove" (LA Weekly) of her debut release which moved trilingual vocals over Techno infused Ambient Hip-Hop to her recent third release Sun Again, which got heads nodding blending her sophisticated lyrics over R&B, Hip-Hop and Pop, Kinnie's Starr keeps rising. Nominated for Best New Artist at this year's JUNO Awards, she performs with her full band for the first time in Toronto. Leela Gilday has also engaged fans across the country from her home in Yellowknife. The first and only Dene singer in history to have classical training, Gilday's vocals seduce and soar over sculpted Folk Roots sounds. Also a JUNO award nominee, she debuts at Harbourfront Centre. 
Toronto debuts:
August 13 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Lila Downs (Mexico)

August 21 (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage)  - Martha Redbone (New York City)
August 21 (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Wai (New Zealand) 
Harbourfront Centre debuts:
August 21 (2 p.m. - CIBC Stage) - Leela Gilday (Yellowknife)
August 21 (11 p.m. - Brigantine room) - Kinnie Starr (Vancouver)

Gobsmacked! a revel of offbeat expression
- August 27 to August 29
New York based lit-Rock outfit One Ring Zero makes their Toronto debut (date and time TBA). The duo of Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp use the claviola, toy piano, theremin and glockenspiel to create a circus like Klezmer musical landscape. Along with performing with many authors at New York venues, the group also boasts lyrics from Margaret Atwood and Ice Storm author Rick Moody among others. Their recent CD was recorded with lyrics written for them by 20 well-known authors.

Ashkenaz: A Festival of New Yiddish Culture - September 3 to September 6
Amsterdam-based klezmer band Ot Azoj was founded in 1994. Over the years, the band developed its own style, a unique blend between old-time Klezmer, contemporary Eastern European folk music and the well-known ‘Klezmer revival sound’. Intimate yet energetic, melancholy at one moment, heartwarmingly joyous  the next. This will be their North American debut.

Berlin duo Khupe present a profound artistic dialogue of Klezmer music at the highest level. Christian Dawid and Sanne Möricke are at the vanguard of the Klezmer scene. Both have worked with renowned musicians such as Frank London, Brave Old World, Budowitz on stages across Europe and the USA. Khupe is the "chamber music project" of Möricke and Dawid. They have carefully developed a style based on tradition yet continually developing it, allowing room for extended improvisation and innovation. This is their Canadian debut.

Montreal's Manouche was formed at the Quebec Conservatory of Music and has played in front of thousands at the last Montreal Jazz Festival. This eight piece French Canadian group pushes the envelope in terms of its energetic and sexy stylings. Their contemporary renditions of old Yiddish standards are a recipe for dancing and exultation. This will be their Toronto debut.
Toronto debuts - Performance dates and times TBA
Ot Azoj (Amsterdam), Khupe (Berlin), Manouche (Montreal)


All Harbourfront Centre Summer 2004 events take place at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West in Toronto. All events are free admission. For further information the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit 
Attention Media:  More events to be announced as well as individual festival releases
Hi-res jpegs, discipline overviews and event releases available at:
Media Contacts:
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655,
Rebecca Webster, 416-973-4397,
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428,  
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